Back in early July we received some samples from Robert Holt, the founder of Southern Draw Cigars, and promptly reviewed the QuickDraw Connecticut and Pennsylvania, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Today we take a look at their inaugural release, from May of 2014, the Kudzu.
CIGAR STATS: Blended by Robert Holt and rolled at the A.J. Fernandez factory, Tabacalera Fernandez S.A., in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Kudzu features a double-fermented Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper with premium aged Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. The Kudzu is available in 3 original sizes: Robusto (5.5 x 54), Toro (6 x 52), and Gordo (6.5 x 60), and 4 new sizes released earlier this month: Axil Lancero (6.5 x 40), Belicoso Fino (5.5 x 50) and two Perfectos (5 x 58, 6 x 56), with prices ranging from about $8-$11 per stick. This review deals specifically with the Robusto.
APPEARANCE: Like the other two vitolas, the Kudzu Toro is box-pressed with a closed foot. The wrapper is milk chocolate in color with an oily sheen and plenty of tooth. Around this gorgeous wrapper are two bands. The top one sports the company’s name and the lower one the cigar’s name.
THE SMOKE: Applying flame to foot produces the usual black pepper, but this gives way to cedar, cocoa, and a natural tobacco sweetness soon after the initial light up. These flavors hold steady until the halfway mark where the black pepper dies down a tad and cocoa, coffee and cedar dominate the inhale while an increased natural tobacco sweetness dominates the exhale. The last couple of inches add a leather component to the flavor wheel and also amps back up the black pepper just a bit. Throughout the review the Kudzu puts out tons of smoke with an easy draw and a steady burn line.
THE VERDICT: I was so caught off-guard by how much I enjoyed this cigar that halfway through the first one that I smoked I texted Robert with my admiration for his product. He, being a “Southern Gentleman,” was gracious and appreciative, but I’m the one who should be appreciative. The Southern Draw Kudzu is a wonderful blend with an array of well-balanced flavors and excellent construction, and I am grateful for the chance to smoke one. For more information about the Kudzu, or the entire line of Southern Draw cigars, please visit: www.southerdrawcigars.com. – Jason Zahner